Kentucky Shakespeare Festival

Arts and Humanities
12:28 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Kentucky Shakespeare's Jon Patrick O'Brien Anchors Strong, Traditional 'Hamlet'

Jon Patrick O'Brien as Hamlet, addressing alas, poor Yorick's skull (uncredited) in Kentucky Shakespeare's "Hamlet."
Credit Holly Stone/Kentucky Shakespeare

How well we know “Hamlet,” one of Shakespeare’s most adaptable plays. The tragedy of a young man consumed with revenge for his father’s death is constantly quoted and referenced, gently parodied and violently re-imagined, its best quotes pinballing through art and pop culture. But Kentucky Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” side-steps the temptation to transform, staging a fairly traditional production anchored by Jon Patrick O’Brien’s powerful performance as the young prince.

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Arts and Humanities
3:57 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Kentucky Shakespeare Breaks Own Attendance Records in Central Park

Kentucky Shakespeare counted 707 in attendance on opening night of "A Midsummer Night's Dream," the first of eight productions to run in Central Park this summer.
Credit Alix Mattingly / WFPL News

Kentucky Shakespeare is having a record-breaking summer. More than 13,000 patrons have attended the free outdoor Shakespeare performances in Louisville’s Central Park since this year’s festival opened June 12.

That tops attendance at the 2001 summer festival - 12,420 - which set the previous record, and there are still five weeks left in the current Central Park season. 

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Arts and Humanities
4:26 pm
Sat June 28, 2014

Kentucky Shakespeare's Dynamic 'Henry V' Resonates

Matt Lytle as "Henry V."
Credit Holly Stone/Kentucky Shakespeare

Kentucky Shakespeare braved the rain last night to bring their second mainstage production to Central Park. Directed by Amy Attaway, the company’s strong, energetic “Henry V” is a dynamic, fast-paced study in leadership that resonates beyond its 15th-century setting.

“Henry V” runs through July 6 with performances Tuesday-Sunday at 8 p.m. at the C. Douglas Ramey Amphitheatre in Old Louisville’s Central Park. All performances are free and feature pre-show entertainment starting at 7:30 p.m.

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Arts and Humanities
11:32 am
Thu June 26, 2014

Watch the Trailer for Kentucky Shakespeare's 'Henry V'

Kentucky Shakespeare's production of "Henry V"
Credit Kentucky Shakespeare

Kentucky Shakespeare opens its second mainstage festival production Friday in Central Park. "Henry V" is best known for its rousing St. Crispin's Day speech, but it looks like Amy Attaway's staging (with fight direction by J. Barrett Cooper) isn't pulling any fight scene punches.

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Arts and Humanities
7:00 am
Sun June 22, 2014

Attendance Soars for Kentucky Shakespeare, Can the Company Keep It Up?

Kentucky Shakespeare counted 707 in attendance on opening night of "A Midsummer Night's Dream," the first of eight productions to run in Central Park this summer.
Credit Alix Mattingly / WFPL News

Kentucky Shakespeare's return to Central Park after an abruptly-canceled run last summer is an undeniable success. If the opening week audiences for "A Midsummer Night's Dream" are any indication, the community approves of the direction new producing artistic director Matt Wallace is steering the company. This year's opening week saw a 70 percent increase over 2013, including 700 in the house for opening night and almost 900 for Saturday, June 14. 

(Update: The company is reporting a house of 1,200 for last night's performance, their largest yet.)

"I'm pretty speechless and happily overwhelmed by the success of the first week," said Wallace in an email last week. "I cannot begin to thank this community enough.  It really feels like a homecoming for many of us in the community."

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Arts and Humanities
3:00 pm
Fri June 13, 2014

Photos: Kentucky Shakespeare's Return Draw Big Crowd

Credit Alix Mattingly/WFPL News

Kentucky Shakespeare opened its 54th Shakespeare Festival Thursday with “A Midsummer Night's Dream”  in the C. Douglas Ramey Amphitheatre in Old Louisville's Central Park. 

About 700 people showed up. 

This year’s Shakespeare Festival comes with some changes, including an extended stage, a wireless microphone system to amplify the actors’ voices—as well as a new artistic director, Matt Wallace.

Related: Erin Keane's Review of "A Midsummer Night's Dream."

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Arts and Humanities
12:01 pm
Fri June 13, 2014

Kentucky Shakespeare Makes Triumphant Return to Central Park Stage

Tony Milder as Puck in Kentucky Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream."
Credit Matthew Chappell / Kentucky Shakespeare

Last summer, things weren’t looking so hot for the oldest free outdoor Shakespeare festival in the country. Kentucky Shakespeare’s summer season in Central Park had dwindled to a single professional production, which then closed early due to managerial issues that culminated in the artistic director’s resignation in July. But when former artistic associate Matt Wallace, then head of Shakespeare Behind Bars, came back to the company as the new artistic director, he promised he’d turn things around and make the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival better than ever, all on a smaller budget than his predecessor’s.

Wallace planned three high-quality professional productions running in repertory for the price of one, along with a high school conservatory show and four community partner productions (for a total of 56 performances, running through mid-August) by employing local talent and resources and good old-fashioned community partnership. Here’s more on the full schedule.

If last night’s opening of the festival is an indication of the full season to come, Wallace has delivered on his promise.  

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Arts and Humanities
4:01 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

'It Feels Like Coming Home': Matt Wallace on Rejoining Kentucky Shakespeare

Matt Wallace

The Kentucky Shakespeare board of directors announced today that Matt Wallace, former artistic associate at Kentucky Shakespeare and current Shakespeare Behind Bars artistic director, would be the company's new producing artistic director. The appointment follows Brantley Dunaway's July 15 resignation.

Wallace is already on the job, and he spoke with WFPL's Erin Keane this afternoon about coming back to the organization to which he feels both professionally and emotionally attached. 

How do you feel stepping into this role now, in 2013?

I’m excited to get this company on the right track, to get us going into the future while honoring the past and trying to learn from what has worked and what hasn’t worked in the past, to take us forward.

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Arts and Humanities
5:24 pm
Mon July 29, 2013

Sonnets, Scenes, Soliloquies: Actors To Stage Free Outdoor Shakespeare

 A group of local actors are mounting an afternoon of free Shakespeare in Memorial Park this weekend. The  event, "Sonnets, Scenes, and Soliloquies," will present the actors' favorite scenes and speeches from Shakespeare's work in Memorial Park  (971 S. 4th St.), on August 4, 2-3 p.m. A reception at Vault 1031 (1031 S. 6th St.) performance space will follow. 

Brian Hinds is one of the event's organizers. Hinds was an actor living in New York when he first traveled to Louisville to work a summer season with the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival. He says he "had been floundering" in New York, but fell in love with Louisville and its theater community after a summer performing under the stars in Central Park.

"What I remember most fondly about my years at Kentucky Shakespeare were the families sitting in the front rows," says Hinds. "Kids who were wandering through the park would stop and watch. I have such a clear memory of the faces of a group of boys smiling and listening during a production of 'Pericles.'"

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Arts and Humanities
2:53 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

Document | What the Kentucky Shakespeare Board Heard About Brantley Dunaway


In August 2012, the Kentucky Shakespeare board met to discuss allegations made against Brantley Dunaway, then the chief executive and producing artistic director. 

Dunaway answered to the allegations from a report made by board member—and now board president—Allen Harris. Here are excerpts from the board minutes.

The full document is posted at the bottom.

Dunaway resigned this week.

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